Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at 12:46 pm  |  21 responses

The FIT: Fila Skeletoes

New feet for your old feet.

by Sandy Dover / @SandmanSeven

In the NBA world, athletes in that particular universe are subject to physical rigors that most laypeople cannot comprehend. For the elite basketball player, his/her body is his/her literal temple and principal livelihood, and while the roughly 400 players in the NBA put their bodies and minds to the test daily and yearly, those outside of that realm (in the so-called real world) also have become just as conscious about their fitness and health. The FIT is a series that will concentrate on the Fuel, Information and Training (F.I.T.) that it takes for both NBAers and laypersons to be at their very best in the world, as well as focusing on the literal Food, Intelligence and Technology that also comes into play in our physical fine-tuning – because after all, without having the vital fuel, guidelines and tech advancements to feed our bodies, help us better absorb and process what’s necessary, and make the labor efficient and effective, we don’t have much to advance our collective health and performance. The FIT is here to bring to light what can make us all the uniquely tuned creatures that we presently are and can continue or aspire to be.

The one thing that it seems people are trying to go back is getting the feeling of walking barefoot. I mean, you can barefoot, but we have converted the natural Earth in a man-made world. Our natural-born feet on man-made surfaces don’t really mesh well when it comes to urbanization and even less so when you talk about shuffling to and fro in America. It’s incompatible to be sans shoes. Enter the Fila Skeletoes.

Not to be confused with any of the Vibram series, the Fila Skeletoes are something that seems like a relative extraterrestrial in the sneaker world. For all the Nike Frees, the New Balance Minimuses, and even the Reebok ReeFlex series, the Skeletoes are literally made in the likeness of the human foot. Not intended for rigorous exercise purposes like the aforementioned, when it comes to recovery and general comfort, the Skeletoes are the business. Here are the specs of the Skeletoes, per Fila:

Its EZ Slide feature… combines the smallest two toes for ease of entry. It also has four-way stretch, 2 ply nylon and crisp clean color-matched printing, as well as a bungee cord for ease of entry. Velcro straps ensure a customized fit as well as a multipurpose slip resistant rubber for maximum protection from those slippery surfaces. Velcro straps ensure a customized fit as well as a multipurpose slip resistant rubber for maximum protection from those slippery surfaces.

In my testing of the Skeletoes, what I loved greatly was the EZ Slide. Combining both toes made things much easier for me when it came to be assured a proper fit. The Velcro straps gave me a customized fit, and for my own feet (which are slender and fairly dainty by typical man standards), I was sufficed by the results. Literally, the Skeletoes felt as natural as a shoe could feel, and the high rubber sole wrapped up my foot for the protection I needed. They felt home. Aesthetically, the ‘Toes are low-profile and are so discreet in the black/graphite colorway that they can be worn with virtually anything casual and random. Of all the good things, especially the fit, I did wish that the fit would’ve allowed me to wear my toesocks without slight discomfort in between my toes, but that just goes to show how good the ‘Toes are; the fit is as 1-to-1 as you might possibly expect.

All in all, I highly recommend the Skeletoes. If you wear cumbersome shoes and/or are on your feet a lot, the Skeletoes provide good support without giving up comfort, and slipping on shoes that are actually made to emulate your own foot is beneficial for your alignment, from the feet up. Everyone remembers Fila in the basketball world for being the house that Grant Hill and Jerry Stackhouse built, but the rebirth of the brand in America with the Skeletoes may change that history.

Sandy Dover is a published novelist/writer, artist, and fitness enthusiast, currently working toward getting board certification as a fitness trainer. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at Facebook and Twitter.

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  • Roger

    look weird as hell.

  • Jake

    Chafed toes, I can see it now.

  • robb

    man, these may be comfortable as f*ck but they sure look ridiculous.

  • http://fatshawnkemp.com zack

    of all the toe shoes I’ve seen, these are actually the least hideous looking

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I own Vibrams. I love them, where them 3-4 days a week. Has helped my back and ankle tremendously. These are interesting

  • KC

    ripped of vibrams big time

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Got recommended vibrams by a triathlete two weeks ago.
    After Sandy’s report on these knockoffs, i might give them a try.
    Nice one, San Dova.

  • http://slamonline.com Sandy Dover

    Thank you all for the feedback; they’re really a good product. I’m happy with mine.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    definitely a knockoff of Vibram 5 fingers…good product though

  • pl

    not really a knock off, SLAM was talking to Nike or someone else about gloves you could put on your feet back in the 90s… there’s only so many ways technology can develop

  • pl

    That said, did the writer of this article even get a run in with these things? I bet it would hurt like hell of someone landed on your foot.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/san-dova-speak-easy/ San Dova

    These were not for running, PL; hiking and walking are cool, as well as “chillin’”.

  • hoodsnake

    I run in my Vibrams on the treadmill(but I still prefer a pair of Salomons on the road thanx.

  • RedRum

    seriously now… what is wrong with wearing real shoes… and I don’t buy the whole theory about health benefits. My neighbour is a director in a Orthopaedic clinic, specialises in sports surgery, completely disagrees with the whole barefoot theory

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Was your neighbor born with shoes on? did his feet evolve soles and constrictions for his toes? Its clear that barefoot is healthier then shoes, just look down at your feet, then look at a traditional shoe. You see your toes with the shoe? can you spread them out? Is there a bunch of cushion on the heal? Do you know that your not even supposed to use your heal for anything but slowing down and stopping out of a run? Shoes have completely 100% compromised our feet. I have been wearing Vibrams 4-5 days a week for the last 8 months, and my feet have changed shape, (my toes are evening out in length, big toe and second toe) – my ankle (which was severely compromised by ligament and tendon damage) is almost back to normal. The barefoot trend is a trend because it actually helps. Your orthopaedic clinic director has obviously only worn shoes his whole life….oh and he likes his business, i doubt he wants to lose clients because some new product is making leg/ankle/foot health a non-issue for a good portion of the athletic community. – its like the owner of Kroger Farms telling you his chicken is the same as the chicken at bill’s ye olde ranch where everything is raised naturally.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Oh and I was recommended Vibram FiveFingers by my foot and ankle doctor, after my ankle wasn’t improving much after about a year of rehabbing and strengthening. Which still has some issues, like the tendons that control my outside two toes is not strong, or is completely torn, because I cannot move or spread those toes. Everything else though is back to normal

  • Kristena

    Wear the shoes BEFORE you comment. Really. Just go to a store that has them, and try them on. Walk around in them. They feel a lot better than normal shoes. Since they are slip-resistant, I can WORK in these shoes. Can you work in your favorite shoes?

    My feet hurt so bad when I come home in normal work/casual shoes, but with these it was amazing. My feet stopped hurting. And they really are a bit better than the FiveFinger, because the last two toes are sewn together. I’ve read a lot about pinky toe injuries from the FiveFinger shoes. Think about it, this shoe is like ten shoes in one.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Never met a person who hurt their pinkie toe in the fivefingers, just people that have trouble getting them on. Which is the reason Fila put the last 2 in “one slot” its called EZ Slide because they are easy to put on, in just that one spot. That 2-toes area is the EZ Slide. If you hurt your pinkie toe in a pair of Vibrams then you hurt it barefoot just as easily.

  • Please spare me

    I love how parrots to the Barefoot Fad are consistent with their illogical reasoning. “Was your neighbor born with shoes on? did his feet evolve soles and constrictions for his toes? Its clear that barefoot is healthier then shoes, just look down at your feet, then look at a traditional shoe”

    Here’s my counter to all the folks that have no critical thinking skills. Were you born with anything you have? Do you live in a cave and hunt and gather for your food? Humans evolved without anything manmade; houses, computers, cars, grocery stores, clothes, anything electric or made from plastic. Basically nothing. No penicillin, no medicine, nada. If you think humans were in such great shape and had great feet prior to the invention of the shoe you are sadly wrong. Try it, give up everything then you can give us some factual evidence. Prehistoric man was lucky if they made to the old age of 30. I doubt modern humans would last that long. This is no more than a fad. Unpadded leather mocassins have been used successfully by the Americans Indians and you can still buy them today but nobody uses them because we have an invention called running shoes. Mocassins, Five Fingers, Skeletoes, give me a break. Wear flip flops if you don’t want you toes constrained.

  • Lyons

    I was a super-hue skeptic about these shoes, too. I always thought that shoes were made to correct the weaknesses in our feet by providing support, and to protect us from the elements. Well, for the most part, they do protect us, but inturn they have made our feet weaker for the most part, and cause us to create a dependancy on shoes with huge lateral support system and arch pads. 3 years ago I suffered a trimalleolar fracture in my left ankle. I had surgery, and have 12 pins, 4 screws and 2 plates in my left leg. I spoke to my doctor recently about the chronic pain from the break, and on of the first things he suggested was trying some “barefoot shoes”. He explained that the hum foot was designed to be in direct contact with the ground, and not to have a big thick sole in between, and that ground, as it would occur in nature, wouldn’t be perfectly flat either. As it was explained to me by my doctor, Walking barefoot returns your gait to its natural form, and takes the stress off of your joints the way that a heel-striking gait (which is what conventional shoes cause) can lead to knee, hip, back and neck problems. Also, it makes your foot rebuild the muscles that your shoes have allowed to atrophy by providing various forms of support that I didn’t need in the first place. Since the switch, my ankle has significantly improved strength, and an improvement in range of motion. It’s simple really…. Like every other animal on this spinning rock, We aren’t designed to wear shoes. We wear them for years and our feet break down. We just need to get back to what nature intended.

  • captain america

    vee brams are great, the feel of groundtouch, flexible, material is good but if you go hiking or running in ovals with stones or pebbles, fila is right for you the thickpads helps alot, if you have heel or arch problems i recommend fila it has archs, the price is conservatively cheap $39-49